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Suspended lawyer had dementia: Law Society

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 6/09/2016

A lawyer suspended over allegations of gross overcharging has had the case against him dropped because he was suffering dementia at the time, the Law Society says.

Robert John Moody was in November last year suspended by the Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal over accusations he had seriously overcharged clients from 2008 to 2013.

But the Law Society on Tuesday said the case against him had been stayed because a medical report and specialist evidence confirmed he was suffering from dementia at the time.

A test for cognitive function, which is scored out of 100 and has a cut-off at 82, found Mr Moody had a score of 63.

Society president Kathryn Beck said it was a sad end to a legal career and that his performance had clearly been affected.

"It also highlights the need for lawyers to continue to look out for each other, to recognise signs of lawyers not coping in their work and to seek help," she said.

The tribunal stayed the proceedings because Mr Moody had indicated he would not be seeking a further practising certificate after the suspension.

It ordered two-thirds of costs, about $24,000, be paid.

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